Gillian Holt is a ceramicist and printmaker living and working in the Calder Valley. Holt took an Access course in Todmorden as a mature student. This led to her enrolment on a BA course in Art and Design, working with ceramics and textiles at Bradford College, where she graduated in 2004.
Gillian Holt’s ceramic work includes large, hand built pieces of partially glazed stoneware and small slipcast parian pots in the form of bottles, unglazed, both of which have digital images printed onto the surface. The images are made from scans of documents, drawings or photographs, which are made into decals containing ceramic pigments and are then fused to the surface of the pots by firing in a kiln.
“Time, memory, history, loss and memorial are the themes of this work. My father’s WW2 pilot’s log book and photograph albums which I inherited on his death in 2005 reawakened my interest in my family’s history in particular and social history in general. The stoneware imagery is based on my dad’s wartime memorabilia. Generations of my father’s ancestors were dyers at Hunsworth Mill, owned by the Taylor family, friends of Charlotte Bronte, who, it is said, based Hollows Mill in her novel Shirley on Hunsworth Mill. The dye recipes, business accounts and pattern books of one of these ancestors, Edward Longbottom, are held in the Special Collection of the Brotherton Library of the University of Leeds. The dyeing industry inspired the shapes of my bottles and jars.”